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Your wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop. They typically start to emerge between the ages of 15 to 20. By the time they develop, there’s often insufficient space in the mouth to hold all of your permanent teeth in their correctly aligned positions.

When there is insufficient space for the wisdom teeth to erupt, they are considered impacted. They might emerge horizontally, or angling from or toward the second molars. Wisdom teeth can cause several problems which can affect oral health. They can crowd the teeth next to them and damage them. They can cause chronic gum disease and inflammation which can lead to local infection and contribute to systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Cysts or tumors in the jaw can also develop from impacted wisdom teeth.

When a wisdom tooth only partially erupts it leaves an area for bacteria to colonize, which can cause local infection and make you more vulnerable to cavities and gum disease. This is because it is virtually impossible to adequately clean the teeth, which leads to a buildup of bacteria.

Timing

Wisdom tooth removal becomes more difficult and has a higher risk after age 30, which is why we recommend evaluation and removal, if indicated, in the mid-teens to early twenties when the tooth root structure is not yet fully developed.

To determine if your wisdom teeth should be removed, one of our oral and maxillofacial surgeons are happy to evaluate you. After taking an X-ray of your mouth and jaws, we can assess the position of the teeth and the root development and make recommendations for treatment.

Surgery
When you come in for wisdom tooth surgery, you will be made comfortable with the help of one of several anesthetic techniques. Our oral surgeons will discuss your needs to determine the best option for you, and you will be treated under the safest conditions.

The procedure is usually completed within 30-40 minutes. If you choose to be sedated, your time in the office will likely be about an hour and a half to allow time for recovery. You will be advised to rest at home under the supervision of another adult. We will make sure you have the information you need for post-surgical aftercare, including take-home instructions.

Recovery
You may experience some facial bruising and swelling, stiff jaw muscles, some oozing from the area of the extraction, and dryness around the lips. Your discomfort should ease within about four or five days.

If you have questions or concerns about your wisdom teeth, we welcome you to visit with one of our oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Dr. Bluhm, Dr. Dorsch, or Dr. Vandervort at Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. A consultation will help us determine whether you would benefit from wisdom tooth removal. Our team is ready to work with your insurance company to help you maximize your benefits. You can reach us by calling one of our convenient locations, 703-729-8700 in Ashburn, VA or 703-771-1771 in Leesburg, VA.